UK viewers want more women’s sport on TV


Majority of viewers want broadcasters to do more to encourage women to play sports

BT is seen leading the way by supporting women’s sport on TV

London 18th March 2019: Consumer insights consultancy Netfluential has just released new research that reveals UK TV viewers believe that BT is doing more to televise women’s sport than other media platforms including the BBC, Sky, ITV, Channel 4 and Facebook.

Conducted in January 2019 among a nationally representative sample of 10,000 people, the findings showed that more than half of viewers (52%) thought the BBC should be doing more to encourage women to participate in sport. The comparative figures were 50% for Sky, 44% for ITV, 36% for Channel 4 and 33% for Facebook. At 31%, BT had the most favourable response.

Overall respondents were united in their view that broadcasting more women’s sport was a positive move. 71% of UK adults agreed that showing more women’s sport would be good “because it will have a positive effect on girls and women taking part in sport.” Netfluential’s framework for identifying the emotional needs of different consumer groups supports this view and underlines the importance of having female role models across the media. A majority (61%) of young women agreed they would “feel more confident if there were more people like me on TV”, versus 43% of the general population.

There isn’t enough women’s sport on TV

Four in 10 (43%) of people interested in sport had watched women’s sport in the last month, compared to 81% for men’s sport. Viewers believe that the main barrier to watching more women’s sport is the lack of coverage, not the quality of the sport being played. Six in 10 of the respondents interested in sport said that the reason they don’t watch women’s sport more often was a combination of:

  • “There is not enough coverage of women’s sport on TV”
  • “The commentary is not very good”
  • “The fixtures are not advertised enough so I do not know when they are shown”

BT is leading the way in challenging this situation and has a concerted strategy to do more to celebrate women’s sports on TV. BT Sport is the only mainstream TV provider to televise the FA Women’s Super League football matches on its main sports channel, with the BBC in comparison offering games online or via the red button. BT Sport also provides coverage of 21 WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) tournaments each year and celebrates the achievements of women in sport at its annual BT Sport Action Woman of the Year awards.

Netfluential CEO Jeroen Verheggen says: “Our research points to a growing demand in the UK for women’s sport on TV, and in most cases, we can see that this need isn’t being met by the mainstream broadcasters. By taking a leadership role, BT has the advantage of not only connecting with sports fans today, but of reaching the next generation of fans and players – particularly younger female audiences. With the positive impact of women in sport being broadcast on TV, we’re looking ahead to see how other broadcasters will respond.”


For more information, please contact Greenfields Communications:

Lucy Green Tel: 07817 698366/0208 778 3784 [email protected]

About Netfluential

Netfluential is a consumer insights consultancy that prides itself on helping leading global brands embrace change. We focus on engaging connected audiences, using smart digital tools to deliver insight-led decision making across a wide range of sectors. Netfluential specializes in unlocking growth through brand strategy, innovation and communications. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter: